05 January 2010

KENYA : ICC out to weather the storm this year

By Erick Ochieng’

After narrowly missing out in the men’s National Basketball Classic League last year, International Christian Centre (ICC) hope to bounce back to the limelight and carry the country’s flag at the regional basketball tournament.

Though the team ruled the men’s Premier League standings for the better part of last year, they were surprisingly relegated to the third and fourth place play-offs.

ICC coach Fred Omondi is a man on a mission of to wrestling the devil that has stood between them and the coveted trophy they used to easily win earlier.
The team boasts of five players; Bernard Ogolla, Moses Shida, Mike Tanui, Janelson Njau and Griffin Ligare, all who play in the national basketball team.
Most players who turn out for the men and women’s clubs under ICC left for other clubs in 2001 when the club was still known as National Social Security Fund (NSSF).
The men and women’s clubs were therefore disbanded following a change of management at NSSF.
"We unsuccessfully sought support from across the board and players left for other teams. It was only at the last minute when the church came to our rescue, but they only supported the men’s team," said Omondi.

Team died

The women’s team died a natural death, while the men’s team changed names from NSSF to ICC.
ICC emerged runners-up in the African Championships in Kigali later in 2001.
In 2004, they were relegated to the men’s Division One League, which they eventually won in 2005 and returned to the Men’s Premier League in 2006.
In 2007, ICC emerged fifth in the Premier League after narrowly missing out in the final play-offs. The team suffered another blow in 2008 when players made another exodus, prompting the coach to recruit afresh, mainly from universities and colleges.

The team enjoyed top form last year until the last minute in the play-offs, which were won by champions Kenya Commercial Bank.

Omondi insists ICC will bounce back to win the Premier League and represent Kenya at the regional championship.

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